Originally released in Japan on May 22, 1980 and the United States on October of the same year, the global branding success Pac-Man celebrates his 35th birthday today. The yellow pizza with a slice missing entertained people for more than three decades and has become sort of a cultural icon and ambassador for video games. Despite so much time in the public eye though, there’s plenty of fun facts people still don’t know about the rotund action hero.
The player controls Pac-Man through a maze, eating pac-dots (also called pellets or just dots). When all pac-dots are eaten, Pac-Man is taken to the next stage. Between some stages one of three intermission animations plays. Four enemies (Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde) roam the maze, trying to catch Pac-Man. If an enemy touches Pac-Man, he loses a life. Whenever Pac-Man occupies the same tile as an enemy, he is considered to have collided with that ghost. When all lives have been lost, the game ends. Pac-Man is awarded a single bonus life at 10,000 points by default—DIP switches inside the machine can change the required points or disable the bonus life altogether.
Near the corners of the maze are four larger, flashing dots known as power pellets that provide Pac-Man with the temporary ability to eat the enemies. The enemies turn deep blue, reverse direction and usually move more slowly. When an enemy is eaten, its eyes remain and return to the center box where it is regenerated in its normal color. Blue enemies flash white to signal that they are about to become dangerous again and the length of time for which the enemies remain vulnerable varies from one stage to the next, generally becoming shorter as the game progresses. In later stages, the enemies go straight to flashing, bypassing blue, which means that they can only be eaten for a short amount of time, although they still reverse direction when a power pellet is eaten; in even later stages, the ghosts do not become edible (i.e., they do not change color and still make Pac-Man lose a life on contact), but they still reverse direction.
Repair and Restoration Resources
A long time has passed since the days this game was brand new in the arcades. There are lots of people now who enjoy fixing and repairing arcades like this. Below are some great repair and restoration videos that you may want to check out if you have an older non-working arcade like this.
New Game Options
There are ways to own a new Pac-Man arcade. There are several arcade styles that are available mostly through video game emulation. There are two great ways to buy a new pac-man arcade – one is called Namco Pac Man’s Arcade Party game. This game has 12 of the classic original games. If you would like a PC-based game that works with emulators you want to check out games like our Excalibur and Ultra Quad which can pay Pac-Man through something called video game emulation. You can learn more about emulation in the book Game On!
World Record High Score
As of 2016, the world record according to Twin Galaxies is held by David Race, who in 2013 attained the maximum possible score of 3,333,360 points in 3 hours, 28 minutes, and 49 seconds.
A perfect Pac-Man game occurs when the player achieves the maximum possible score on the first 255 levels (by eating every possible dot, power pellet, fruit, and enemy) without losing a single life, and using all extra lives to score as many points as possible on Level 256.
The first person to achieve this score is Billy Mitchell of Hollywood, Florida, who performed the feat in about six hours. Since then, six other players have attained the maximum score in increasingly faster times.
In December 1982, an eight-year-old boy, Jeffrey R. Yee, supposedly received a letter from U.S. President Ronald Reagan congratulating him on a worldwide record of 6,131,940 points, a score only possible if he had passed the unbeatable Split-Screen Level. In September 1983, Walter Day, chief scorekeeper at Twin Galaxies, took the US National Video Game Team on a tour of the East Coast to visit video game players who claimed they could get through the Split-Screen Level. No video game player could demonstrate this ability. In 1999, Billy Mitchell offered $100,000 to anyone who could pass through the Split-Screen Level before January 1, 2000. The prize was never claimed.
The game uses a Z80 microprocessor and a Namco 3channel PSG for sounds. Troubleshooting manuals can be found at httpwww.erinet.comjamesmtechtech.htm. The Pacman SUPER ABC kit replaces the chips at 6E
- Ms. Pac-Man
- Super Pac-Man
- Pac-Man Plus
- Baby Pac-Man
- Jr. Pac-Man
- Pac & Pal
- Pac-Man V R
- The game was created by Toru Iwatani at Namco over the course of a year and was released in the United States under license by Midway, a division of Bally Technologies. Iwatani was 25 years old whenPac Manwas released.
- Pac-Manwas originally branded as Puck Man in Japan partially because of his resemblance to a hockey puck, but the name changed for the US release.
- The reason for the rebranding? Midway realized vandals could change the P to an F and make the label not safe for work.
- In a 1987 interview, Iwatani admitted that Pac-Man’s shape originated from rounding the Japanese character for mouth, (kuchi). Prior to the interview, he asserted that the shape was based on a pizza with a missing slice.
- If the food theme seems a bit heavy, it’s intentional. Iwatani wanted to attract a wider and more feminine audience, so he made the ghosts cute and used eating as a core theme.
- Midway created the unauthorized sequel Pac-Manbased on the scraped game Crazy Otto, which was an enhancement of Pac-Man, because they grew impatient waiting for Namco to develop the official sequel, Super Pac-Man.
- Because Namco had not officially given Midway consent to develop Pac-Man, Midway had to give the rights to the game over to Namco. Eventually, Namco made the game officially part of the Pac-Manseries.
- Super Pac-Manreplaced the pellet-eating mechanic with collecting keys to open doors, which in turn unlocked access to foods Pac-Man had to eat to win the level.
- The ghosts in Pac-Manhave both Japanese and English names. The English names are Blinky (Red), Pinky (Pink), Inky (Blue), and Clyde (Orange). The translated Japanese names are Chaser (Red), Ambusher (Pink), (Fickle), and Feigning Ignorance (Orange).
- Each enemy displays unique traits. Red chases Pac-Man, Pink and Blue try to be in front of him, and Orange alternates between chasing and staying in the lower left part of the maze.
- As you go through the levels, enemies become faster while Pac-Man slows down.
- Certain levels have intermissions after them, such as between level 2 and level 3, which shows Pac-Man chasing Blinky. Think of them as the 80’s version of cutscenes from modern-day games.
- The last playable level is 255, with level 256 being an unwinnable glitch-fest. The maze on the right side of the screen disappears, replaced by random characters and symbols.
- Each level contains 240 pellets and Pac-Man becomes slower with each pellet he eats.
- Pac-Man can turn faster than the ghosts. A ghost must be in the middle of a corner or intersection to change directions while Pac-Man can turn slightly before reaching the middle.
- The ghosts have two different modes, Scatter and Chase. They switch between the two at predetermined times. To spot the switch, pay attention to when they reverse direction. For the first level, the first two phases are Scatter for seven seconds then Chase for 20. For the third phase, they scatter for five seconds then chase for 20. After the third phase, the ghosts Scatter for five seconds and permanently stay in Chase.
- There is a glitch that allows Pac-Man to sometimes move right through a ghost without having to eat the power pellets. See this videofor a demonstration.
- The effect that power pellets give Pac-Man last shorter durations as the player progresses in levels.
- Pac-Man Championship Editionwas Iwatani’s last game before his retirement and released on Xbox Live Arcade June 6, 2007. A day before its release, a Pac-Man tournament was held in New York City with ten competitors from around the world.
- The ghosts in Pac-Manmove in predetermined patterns that can be learned. It is possible to play the game and completely avoid them.
- Billy Mitchell achieved the highest possible Pac-Manscore of 3,333,360 in 1999. Since then other several players have achieved it.
- Now players compete for the fastest completion time, which Dave Race of Ohio set at 3 hours, 33 minutes and 12.69 seconds in 2012.
- Pac-Man and Clyde have cameos in the Disney movie Wreck-It Ralph. Pac-Man can be seen at Fix-It Felix’s 30thanniversary party while Clyde shows up in a group therapy session for villains.
- The upcoming Adam Sandler movie Pixels features a short scene showing gameplay as well as another scene with a giant three-dimensional Pac-Man.
- Hanna-Barbera produced an animated Pac-Mancartoon that aired from 1982 to 1983. Marty Ingels voiced Pac-Man while future Optimus Prime voice actor Peter Cullen voiced Pac-Man’s cat Sour Puss.
- In business, the strategy when a company threatened with a hostile takeover acquires the would-be buyer instead is called the Pac-Man defense.
- The Guinness World Records Book 2010 Editionnamed Pac-Man the most recognizable video game character of all time, with 94% of Americans knowing him.
- In addition to naming Pac-Man the most recognizable character, Guinness also named the game Pac-Man the most successful coin-operated game ever.
- Pac-Man the character shows up in TRON during the scene where Sark gives orders to an underling. Check out the scene on YouTube.
- During development, the president of Namco wanted the all the ghosts to be red and pressured Iwatani to make the change. However, beta testers preferred different colors for the ghosts and Iwatani successfully pushed back.
- Whenever Pac-Man eats a regular pellet, he slows down for one frame. Since the game renders at 60 FPS, he stops moving for 1/60thof a second every time he eats regular pellets.
- In the first 15 months of its US release, over 100,000 Pac-Manarcade cabinets were sold by Midway.
- The music duo Buckner & Garcia recorded an album named Pac-Man Fever. Their single of the same name reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100in March 1982.
- On April Fools’ Day 2015, Google Maps let users play Pac-Man using the real-world map as the grid.